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Thread: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

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    Post Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers
    Written by Peck

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    Tonight’s game offered us a look at several things but one thing it did not offer was a true glimpse of where our team stands right now as this Clipper team was not whole in general, inexperienced specifically and tired in reality.

    We enter the abridged version of Odd Thoughts: Bullet Point style as frankly there just was not much to take away from this game. We won so don’t get me wrong that is great but this is one of those games if you didn’t win we would be wanting to burn someone in effigy, if not in actuality.

    • Danny Granger is playing the best defense he has played in years. I mean if you didn’t actually watch him tonight you missed something as he shut Eric Gordon down and was a virtual pain to whoever came to his side of the floor. Nice to have Danny back on track as an overall player and not a chucker.
    • Roy Hibbert didn’t start off so swell but eventually picked it up, well after he pulled the Spalding tattoo out of his forehead that Gordon gave him with a nasty in your face jam. But once Roy recovered he had a stretch in the second quarter where he was perfect from the field. He made some bad passes tonight but overall he had a decent game and considering DeAndre Jordan was shooting 78% from the field prior to the game I think Roy did a very good job helping him drop that % some.
    • Blake Griffin is huge, athletic, strong and will be a force in this league for years to come and yet he could not budge Tyler Hansbrough. That’s right in their actual head to head matchups (which were limited) Tyler more than held his ground on the defensive end and in fact strength vs. strength Tyler was the immovable object. Does not mean this will be the norm but for tonight Blake had no advantage at all.
    • Eric Gordon needs a new basketball home and I have just the place in mind for him. Young, athletic, can shoot, can defend, can pass he just needs a better team to be part of. Eric your Indianapolis roots are calling you. Most teams this would be out of the question but these are the Clippers were talking about here so I am certain that Sterling will want an expiring or two before long. Paging Mr. Bird & Mr. Morway to the white courtesy phone.
    • Brandon Rush blocking 5 shots is just unreal in a way. There was a play in the second half that in all honesty I can’t remember which Clipper did this but they got the ball away from the Pacers ran the court but both Paul George & Brandon Rush were back. George caused him to pull up before he wanted to and Rush got the block. I kept thinking during that time how nice it was to actually have athletic long players who cared about defense to be on the floor. I’m not a Rush fanatic by the way and when he scores less than 7 points a game I usually range between forgetting he is on the floor to blood curdling rage, but man when he scores and plays defense he is one heck of a player.
    • Foster came in and gave very solid work in 12 minutes of play. Came in and has already hit more jump shots than Josh has all season long as it turned out, who would have thought we would look to Jeff as the scorer between the two. Anyway Solid production, professional demeanor and sadly probably a lot of sore muscles right now. I think they used him tonight and are going to use Solomon Jones vs. the Magic on Saturday. I just don’t think Jeff’s back can take going against Dwight, not that Solomon is going to do any kind of job either but I think it is probably a health issue. Who knows though they will probably go through both by the end of the night.
    • A.J. Price is really making it hard to accept him in street cloths. Look I have not been down on T.J. at all this year as he is giving you all he can and at times has provided decent defense. But dang Price just fits our system so well that it is hard to accept that he is in street cloths all the time. His 6-1 turnover ratio is impressive not so much for the few turnovers he got but for the fact that he got 6 assist in a system that is not designed for a point guard to get assist. I really hope the front office is working the phone lines right now because once D.C. comes back there are going to be lots of people on the Pacers Digest that are going to be very upset about A.J. Price getting DNP-CD’s and at this point in time who could blame them.
    • I know that Sekou Smith of NBA.com was rooting for a dunk off between Josh McRoberts (or McBob as he has been given permission to call him) & Blake Griffin (BTW does he have a nickname) and he probably had to be a little disappointed that overall neither had anything massive but I guess Josh’s one handed alley oop dunk probably was the best of the two of the night. However hands down Eric Gordon’s dunk on Big Roy was the best.

    Ok some quick hits before we get out of here.

    My boys up in area55 had the Darnell Hillman fathead out tonight and I loved it.

    Tonight’s random comment from a new person behind me was as follows. “When will they put Smits in the game?” To which the person who was with him replied “Rik’s been retired for a few years, he and Reggie retired together”. I just shook my head and could not bring myself to correct them.

    Eric Gordon’s dunk on Roy caused Roy to send out this tweet after the game. “Good win but I got dunked on pretty bad. Wow. That’s not a good look. Gonna get clowned by my teammates tomorrow for that one.”



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    Over the pond ballism's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    1-11 start will do that to you.
    I didn't even feel that we played very well.
    They just seem to be a down team right now, and this was a back-to-back after an extremely tense loss.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    I saw that look on Griffin's face after Hans sent him to the floor (by barely glancing him with his shoulder, but that's enough from Hans to send you flying).

    If Hans becomes consistent with regular minutes, he will soon be a serious force and presence on the court. And develop a rep.
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    “People talk about how quiet he [McKey] is, but he’s really been helpful. He gives a lot of insight to players in how to guard certain teams and what their weaknesses are. The whole team listens to him, and it makes my job a lot easier. Having players like him is what pro basketball is all about for me.” —Larry Brown

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by ballism View Post
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    1-11 start will do that to you.
    I didn't even feel that we played very well.
    They just seem to be a down team right now, and this was a back-to-back after an extremely tense loss.
    Way too many young guys playing. I mean three rookies started for them tonight. The other two starters are the inexperience DeAndre Jordan and third year pro Eric Gordon. It's really tough to win with that many young guys playing big minutes, no matter how talented they may be. And I really don't think they are a well coached team. They go from crappy Mike Dunleavy to crappy Vinny Del Negro. Hard to get a good read on Del Negro when so many young guys are integral parts of the team.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    I don't know have a strong opinion on Del Negro, the players always seem to support him, which is important for young teams imo. But I agree, with this start, I think they will have to think about coach change soon enough. You just can't let a bunch of rookies to get down on themselves and lose energy for full season.

    Wow at their rookies though, Griffin, Bledsoe, Aminu... All can be very good. And DeAndre Jordan, he's no rookie, but they got him in 2nd round just a few years ago, wow! And Gordon of course, although he seemed to be demoralised more than anyone yesterday.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by ballism View Post
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    I don't know have a strong opinion on Del Negro, the players always seem to support him, which is important for young teams imo. But I agree, with this start, I think they will have to think about coach change soon enough. You just can't let a bunch of rookies to get down on themselves and lose energy for full season.

    Wow at their rookies though, Griffin, Bledsoe, Aminu... All can be very good. And DeAndre Jordan, he's no rookie, but they got him in 2nd round just a few years ago, wow! And Gordon of course, although he seemed to be demoralised more than anyone yesterday.
    Yeah their talent level is really high. If developed correctly, plus whatever young guy they get with their high lottery pick this year, they could be a force in a year or two. Of course we have said the same thing about the Clippers for forever now, so I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. Just think if they got the top pick again this year. Harrison Barnes added to this core...goodness.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    They better have a high talent level. They've been picking top five for the past 30 years...

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by Indra View Post
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    They better have a high talent level. They've been picking top five for the past 30 years...
    That's not entirely true, as they've spent most of their time at 6-10 pick range, not to mention wasting a number of good picks in trades. But I hear you, they had their share of picks in the past 30 years
    This however is the first stretch that i remember where they actually stockpiled a bunch of their own talented picks. As opposed to trading most of them away for older players. Good for them if they don't screw it up.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Tonight’s random comment from a new person behind me was as follows. “When will they put Smits in the game?” To which the person who was with him replied “Rik’s been retired for a few years, he and Reggie retired together”. I just shook my head and could not bring myself to correct them.
    I take that as a small encouraging sign for the Pacers. People in the building who obviously haven't followed the Pacers for a very long time, for a game against a perennial doormat, and on a weeknight to boot. That indicates that at least some traction is being gained amongst casual fans at this point, even though they probably didn't pay much, if anything, for those tickets. For a while now it has been difficult to even give away tickets to a game like that to people who are not avid followers of the Pacers.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    This game was ugly. There were a number of lineups on the floor where I wondered if anybody wanted to shoot, was able to shoot, or even knew what shooting was. The defense was strong once they settled in, but until things finally managed to break free I thought we were going to play "stand around and look at the pretty red uniforms" on the offensive end all night.
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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by ballism View Post
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    That's not entirely true, as they've spent most of their time at 6-10 pick range, not to mention wasting a number of good picks in trades. But I hear you, they had their share of picks in the past 30 years
    This however is the first stretch that i remember where they actually stockpiled a bunch of their own talented picks. As opposed to trading most of them away for older players. Good for them if they don't screw it up.
    I was exaggerating slightly, but you know what I mean If they play their cards right they can definitely become a very good team.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by Indra View Post
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    I was exaggerating slightly, but you know what I mean If they play their cards right they can definitely become a very good team.
    You'll have to excuse me if I don't hold my breath.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    By playing their cards right do you mean the owner holding aces and eights?

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    I'm ecstatic about Granger's improved defense. Many seem to forget that this is the same guy who trained intensely with Artest while he was here and was the guy who guarded the opponent's best player early in his career. He's been capable of doing more than being just a scorer or a jumpshooter.

    It's terrific to see this type of defensive effort coming from the team's top scorer. I think that tends to inspire teammates to try harder on defense. Being able to harass both of the opposing team's wings simultaneously (with Rush and Granger, with George and D. Jones available when they rest) could be vital against certain teams. Remember that lots of scoring in this league comes from the wing positions. It's nice to have the tools to do something about that.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    The real question is: Can Ben Gordon play defense like that?

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboHicks View Post
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    Tonight’s random comment from a new person behind me was as follows. “When will they put Smits in the game?” To which the person who was with him replied “Rik’s been retired for a few years, he and Reggie retired together”. I just shook my head and could not bring myself to correct them.
    Sorry Peck, but it's been more than 10 years. The rule of thumb is if someone hasn't played in more than a decade, you are obligated to call them an idiot and have them removed from the arena.

    In defense of the second person, they may have been lying to head off the person asking where Reggie was.
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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    For me, the frustrating thing is we all have known that Granger had the ability to play the kind of defense that he played both Tuesday night and last night. He just hasn't been willing to do it.

    Hopefully, he figures out that he needs to give that effort every single night.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mackey_Rose View Post
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    For me, the frustrating thing is we all have known that Granger had the ability to play the kind of defense that he played both Tuesday night and last night. He just hasn't been willing to do it.

    Hopefully, he figures out that he needs to give that effort every single night.
    Unwilling or unable? I'm not sure which. Remember in the previous two years he did not have a lot of fire power around him so I think he focused so much more on scoring and being a good team defender that he let his individual defense slide.

    Call it victim of the system or if you prefer unwarrented focus on one aspect of the game only.

    Remember this is a coach who does not punish you for not being a good one on one defender as long as you get to the spot on the floor he wants (see Murphy, Dunleavy & Jack as examples).


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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    I'll be a Granger apoligist, I guess.

    In past years Danny had to, I mean HAD TO, bear so much of the scoring burden, he really couldn't be a lock down defender too. I guess you could argue he could get in the kind of condition that would permit him to do both, but that is really only a super elite athlete who can do that.

    Now I don't think he has that burden as much, so it's allowing him to focus his energy defensively more.

    I think thats 90% of it.

    I think the other 10% is he feels like playing that kind of defense now, actually can make a difference in winning and losing. Before he could kill himself playing defense and it still not matter. It's human nature at some point to stop banging your head against the wall.

    Just my opinion, of course.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    Unwilling or unable? I'm not sure which. Remember in the previous two years he did not have a lot of fire power around him so I think he focused so much more on scoring and being a good team defender that he let his individual defense slide.

    Call it victim of the system or if you prefer unwarrented focus on one aspect of the game only.

    Remember this is a coach who does not punish you for not being a good one on one defender as long as you get to the spot on the floor he wants (see Murphy, Dunleavy & Jack as examples).
    I'm not sure, but it seems to have been more of an effort problem than anything. I don't think saving himself on the defensive end so that he can focus on scoring is an acceptable excuse.

    I do think that the coach is to blame for it almost as much as the player. As you point out, he lets players with poor defense slide as long as they are able to do the certain things that he values.

    Granger's consistency is this team's biggest problem in my opinion. He is the best player, and I think in the NBA, you only go as far as your best player takes you. He needs to bring it every night.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    Remember this is a coach who does not punish you for not being a good one on one defender as long as you get to the spot on the floor he wants (see Murphy, Dunleavy & Jack as examples).
    *** sound of worm can opening ***

    First, I think he IS having them focus more on defense, especially given the defensive adjustments made in the game last night to contain EJ.

    Second, there always has to be balance between offense and defense. If you only have one-dimensional players you can't just put your defense in and celebrate getting beat 40-10. At some point you may have to put in guys who are weaker defensively because they give you something on offense.

    There's a huge jump between "Matador" Murphy and "Drive-by" Mike. The argument is whether Mike gives you enough on offense to make up for his weaknesses, not whether he gives offense that makes up for a complete lack of defending.
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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    I think we're seeing him do more with better talent.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    The Clippers need to get Kaman healthy and back on court quickly, because the only thing they're developing now is bad basketball, not talent.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickRelease View Post
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    I think we're seeing him do more with better talent.
    That's true to some extent. It has basically been

    a) a hugely improved Hibbert,
    b) better defense from the PF position and
    c) more talent at the PG position
    d) a healthier team

    I suppose a, b and c are talent related...or simply development of young players.

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    Default Re: Odd Thoughts: Taking the wind out of the Clippers [The Front Page]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mackey_Rose View Post
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    For me, the frustrating thing is we all have known that Granger had the ability to play the kind of defense that he played both Tuesday night and last night. He just hasn't been willing to do it.

    Hopefully, he figures out that he needs to give that effort every single night.
    "Willing" might not be the right word. Granger quit playing defense (and driving to the basket) when Jim got his extension.

    I don't know that the last year would have been any different if he'd been defending well and playing a great all-around offensive game.
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